Interview by Tara Sasiadek:
The Buffalo Expat Network, the Emerging Leaders in the Arts and HandsOn Greater Buffalo are pleased to present the echo:
Art Fair which connects experienced collectors and first-time buyers
with emerging local, regional and international artists in a centralized
and creative environment; the Buffalo Central Terminal. echo:
Art Fair will showcase a broad scope of fine art disciplines, including
painting, photography, sculpture, print, works on paper, video and
combined-media. echo will commence with a VIP Reception on July 8th, 2011. On July 9th, the echo:
Art Fair will run from 9:30am until 5:30pm. The After-echo party, also
to be held in the Terminal, will take place shortly after the ending of
the fair featuring live music from The Albrights, Alex Kelly, and will
wrap up with a dance party featuring DJ Cutler and AVDJ PROJEX. Here is the next in a series of Buffalo Rising interviews with one of our featured artists, Lesley Horowitz:
Who are you, and what do you do?
I am a visual artist and a partner in a branding and design agency in New York City. Originally from Buffalo, I did my MFA at Rhode Island School of Design and moved to New York City where I started my company, Officelab.
Currently I split my time between New York City and Buffalo. In New York City I live in a loft in Hell’s Kitchen, and in Buffalo I have a church on the far west side which I use as my studio.
My photographic work is about a certain counter-narrative – one that explores the paradoxes of failed promise, futures unrealized and the industrial sublime. I have spent the past several years exploring the increasingly ephemeral landscape of the post-industrial Northeast, trespassing through abandoned factories, powerplants, steel mills and derelict landscapes. My work explores what remains — not only in terms of the physical structures but also in terms of enduring resonance, and the immaterial.
What are the most essential elements of your work?
Light, absence of light, the industrial sublime.
If you had to choose only 5 materials or tools to work with, what would they be?
Red-Epic for video, Hasselblad 503 for stills, my dad’s paints and brushes from the 50’s, powdered graphite, bolt cutters.
Would you describe your artistic education as a guided or self guided journey?
Both. I was very lucky in that my father taught painting at Buffalo State for 40 years and taught me to see the world in terms of questions to be asked rather than answers to be accepted.
In graduate school I had incredible instructors and peers at who challenged every assumption and point of view. I was encouraged to look at a lot of art that made me uncomfortable, and pushed to develop work that resonated within a cultural context.
In NYC I’ve had the benefit of brilliant friends and colleagues – writers, artists, musicians, choreographers and curators, who have guided and supported my process. I consistently refer back to their insights and intelligence as I develop my work further. I have great respect for instruction manuals and a deep appreciation of the value of age and experience.
Do you have a connection to Buffalo? Is there a Buffalo landmark or meal you plan to visit or have while here?
McCarthey’s bar in the Old First Ward for an ice cold Corona
How do you define success as an artist?
When I return to a work after a year and it still resonates – when I can see more into my work than I was conscious of creating.
Can you share with a us a harrowing tale of an artistic disaster?
The time we were taking pictures in an abandoned factory and were surrounded by the SWAT team with guns drawn. As it turned out they thought we were part of Bruce Willis’ scouting crew who were arrested the previous day.
Do you have a set schedule for studio time? How do you structure your creative life?
Because I also am a designer in my own company I am constantly challenging myself with creative processes. With my photography, most of the shooting happens on the weekends or late at night as a fair amount of it involves trespassing. I find that when I sit down to process an image I need a long amount of time to focus – often I’ll work eighteen hours at a stretch. I come back to those images on and off for years, refining and reworking
Can you tell us about where you find resources or inspiration for your work?
Derelict highways, abandoned railroad tracks, anywhere with years of unmowed weeds.
I also see as much of other artists’ work and go to as many galleries as I can fit into a week. I’m particularly inspired by artists like Olafer Eliasson, Mark Di Suvero, Richard Serra, Charles Sheeler, Romanian contemporary painters like Zoltd Bodoni, as well as contemporary choreographers, from Merce Cunningham to Stephen Petronio. I see a lot of dance, as dance is all about space, light and the ephemeral.
What quote or mantra or words of wisdom do you have for other creative types?
Trespass when necessary.
Where can we find more of your work?
My photographic work can be seen here:
and if you’re on facebook, here:
My company’s work can be seen here:
For full details on echo: Art Fair, visit the site at www.echoArtFair.com, or find us on Facebook.